Chickie’s and Pete’s in Malvern is now open, just in time for the Super Bowl, too. The new race and sportsbook is the first of its kind in the entire country to operate and be located inside a restaurant/sports bar, according to reps from Parx.
The new Malvern location will have a Grand Opening celebration with a ribbon-cutting on Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. followed by WIP hosts Ike Reece and Jon Marks broadcasting their show on-location (2 p.m. – 6 p.m.), then Happy Hour at 6 p.m. with FOX 29’s Bob Kelly.
During the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting on Nov. 9, regulators approved the petition by Parx’s parent company, Greenwood Gaming, to open an OTB location in a part of the new Chickie’s and Pete’s in East Whiteland Township, Chester County. Technically, Parx is moving and scaling back operations of the permanently closed Oaks Race & Sportsbook.
Parx Race and Sportsbook at Malvern Chickie’s and Pete’s
Where: The Grove Shopping Center. 10 Liberty Boulevard, Malvern
When does it open? It opened in early February 2022
Hours: 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays. Will close later on weekends.
Size: The restaurant is 8,600 square feet, the sports and racebook area is 630 sq. feet
How many kiosks? Four sports betting kiosks
Teller windows: Four
Rules for entry: You must be 21+ to enter the Parx Race & Sportsbook at Chickie’s and Pete’s in Malvern. Security will be on site during operating hours and there will be 24/7 surveillance.
Food and beverage service: None inside of the sportsbook. The idea here is that you go place your bet then return to your table at the restaurant and order their signature Crabfries, crabs, and other items on the menu.
FYI: The room for sports betting at Chickie’s and Pete’s in Malvern will be connected, but separate from the restaurant. You can only access the room from inside the restaurant and there will be no outside entrance for the sportsbook.
Inside Malvern Chickie’s and Pete’s
Why Oak Race & Sportsbook closed and the decrease in OTBs
PlayPennsylvania exclusively reported in July 2020 that Oaks Race & Sportsbook (formerly known as the Turf Club) permanently closed. Reps for Parx Casino do not respond to requests for comment on this, or other matters.
During the Nov. PGCB meeting, reps for Parx said the Oak Race & Sportsbook closed “due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the outdated model for off-track betting facilities.”
Joe Wilson, the chief operating officer of Parx Racing, commented on the closure of Oaks OTB:
“There was once 23 OTBs in Pennsylvania and today there are only three. Oaks was a 26,000 sq. ft. facility with basically nobody in it. You can’t operate that way. All of the OTBs that closed, it was basically for the same reason, it’s outdated.”
Oaks Race & Sportsbook completed a $500,000 renovation prior to offering sports betting in March 2019. The improvements included several high-definition televisions and improved surveillance equipment.
Gaming regulators asked Parx reps how the OTB became outdated so quickly.
“We were watching OTBs close across the Commonwealth,” said Wilson. “We believed that by adding sports betting it would give a big bump in business. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Part of it was that we were down the road from Valley Forge Casino. It was a big building and you can’t operate like that. You lose money.”
The Parx-operated 39,000 sq. ft. South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook is still open. They attempted to move operations to the nearby Chickie’s and Pete’s on Packer Avenue but it was shot down. However, it is pending zoning appeal.
High hopes for new OTB model
Parx reps expressed confidence that the collaboration with Chickie’s and Pete’s, a well-known sports bar, will “reinvigorate off-track betting operations and enhance retail sports wagering opportunities.”
“We see this as the future for both retail sports wagering and sports betting,” said Wilson
Wilson referred to the 250,000 people in Parx’s customer database and Pete Ciarrocchi, the Chairman and CEO of Chickie’s & Pete’s. Ciarrocchi is an active promoter of himself and the sports bar and Parx plans to work with him for big sporting events.
It’s estimated that the Parx Race and Sportsbook at the Malvern Chickie’s and Pete’s will have more than $1.4 million in annual operating expenses. In addition, it will create 20 construction jobs and 12-16 full and part time jobs.
All photos by Katie Kohler